School Kids’ Nose Bleeds Tied to Industrial Pollution

Children were getting nose bleeds for weeks at a Chinese school, located in an industrial zone. (Peretz Partensky/Flickr)
Children were getting nose bleeds for weeks at a Chinese school, located in an industrial zone. (Peretz Partensky/Flickr)

Children have suffered nosebleeds at Huangjiabu Township Middle School in Zhejiang Province for several months. 18 kids are on the school records for bloody noses since March. Officials finally took action, and nine industrial plants near the school have been fined and suspended.

A father of a student at Huangjiabu says his son, and four of his class mates got a bleeding nose the same day, but it was three weeks before authorities took action. He Dongfeng said he had smelled a sour, metallic odor around the school, which may have been to blame for the children’s nosebleeds.

The school is near the city of Yuyao’s industrial center, which houses 31 plants. Zheng Qilong, deputy head of the town, reported that authorities could not openly deny that the plants could be a cause.

Yang Sheng, an official with Huangjiabu’s Environmental Protection Bureau, followed up on complaints by teachers and students, and ended up fining and partially closing some plants.

This issue is actually not a new one. In late 2013, 19 kids in Zhejiang Province had serious nosebleeds that were linked back to a local plant. The cause during that time was determined to be an acidic mist that went above emissions limits set by the state. This is the same area that was affected again this past month, which begs the question: are these punishments working?

Much has been written lately about emissions in China’s major cities. In many cases, like this one, there is a track record of negligence and harm from the industrial giants in China. There is also a well known history of either ignorance, laziness, or underhanded reasons from the government on national and local levels to fail to protect the health of children and families.

It still remains unclear what the long term health effects for these children will be, but what is clear is that this problem is far from over.

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